Thursday, August 18, 2011

A start stop blog.

I haven't been on here in almost a year.

Sure, I've lurked on Blogger reading the profiles of others , but I didn't know what I wanted to say!

The problem with blogging is the longer you stay away, the harder it is to start again.

So the one line recap of what's happened in many months :

While  I have been under the radar - I have worked, travelled, moved and read a tonne. I've even written, although not a lot.

Some of my reading highlights include:

The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler.

I have developed this intense interest in urban planning and I found this book conveys such a strong message about the perils of suburban sprawl. The book is incredibly engaging and witty in presenting its message about building sustainable, people friendly communities.

The book is non fiction but not at all daunting to those that don't have a strong background in architecture or urban planning. 

Suburban Nation: The rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream by Andre Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck

The authors of this book are credited with spearheading a movement called ' New Urbanism'. This movement focuses on the development of traditional neighbourhoods with mixed usage spaces ( such as commerical and residental) and housing for all social classes within the same area. 

Both books offer sharp criticism of suburban, homogeneous sprawl and highlight the difficulties associated with changing the city planning system.

My own country, Australia, has also gone down a sprawling path with bloated cities too large to be effectively serviced by public transport and rising social isolation. It is great to finally see alternatives to this model.

On a lighter note.

I picked up a copy of The Curious Incident with a Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

It's one of those books I kept saying I would read and then finally got around to it. The book is a joy to read as it presents such a unique perspective. Haddon has offered a very rare insight into the lives of those suffering from autism.